Images That Upset Me

I’ve been around long enough to know the power of images in advertising and marketing.

I know the pictures taken are carefully chosen to evoke a particular emotion; whether this be joy or sorrow, excitement or devastation, is irrelevant. Each are designed to draw you in, to have you feel something, and, essentially, to act in a specific way.

Carefully considered are the words that accompany these images. They are selected to enhance the feels you are feeling, and, if necessary, to direct your emotions to where they want them to go.

Usually, the aim is to move you enough to have you purchase a thing you probably don’t actually need.

It all makes sense, really.

Despite this knowledge, I recently spent a few days on public transport (not actual entire days on public transport, more my morning and evening commutes over a few days) baffled by this image:

I stared at it, and stared at it and couldn’t work out why it was befuddling me. Something – for me at least – wasn’t sitting right.

I analysed, I overthunk, and could see nothing logically incorrect with it.

I mean, there’s a sad looking kid, not looking as roughed up, ragged, and down-and-out as most kids I know that could fall into this category, but we also can’t be too confronting with our advertising, because that makes people feel… uncomfortable.

His image is accompanied by phrases oft used by school aged children to tease those less fortunate than themselves, and the tagline

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